India's wine market faces tough challenges as players look to recover from a disappointing 2008.

That was the message at this week's International Food & Drinks Expo in New Delhi today, attended by over 40 global wine companies and agencies.

Recent tax hikes on imported wines and global recession have throttled the trade, with prices of some international brands rising by up to 300%.

Domestic wineries have also suffered from higher value added tax.

The projected size of the wine market is 1.5m cases and growing at 25% upwards, but     some believe these figures are hyped.  

"What we've picked up here and beforehand is that India is a difficult market. Apart from the taxation issue, the culture here for wine is not so developed", said Dimitar Rupchev, area manager for Vinprom Peshtera SA, which makes the wine brand 'Persona'.

Earlier this year, India's Grape Processing Board said domestic wine sales were down significantly.